Solar Power Visualisation

Is a zero-energy city possible?


In the three-week introduction project, we combined weather data provided by the API and data we're interested in. In some ways these data correlated, while in other ways they were just fun to look at.

My approach was to find out if a city could produce enough power by itself to cover its own electricity consumption. I started my research with studies about the efficiency of solar panels in general. I soon realized that efficiency is big issue. But even if it can't be done today, there's a good chance it will be possible in the near future.

So, what if every suitable roof in the city was equipped with a photovoltaic system? How much current would it produce?

The result is an interactive infographic which shows the city’s power consumption against the potential solar current. There are three cities to choose from: Schwäbisch Gmünd, which experiences “normal” German weather conditions; Barcelona, a sunnier and nicer place in Europe; and Copenhagen, which has a relatively cold climate.

I came to the impressive conclusion that it would be possible to cover the power consumption in theory, but in reality, it would only work for about six hours a day. Another drawback is the fact that with the current level of technology, there is no way to save the current peaks for nights or bad weather days.

I'm pretty sure you’ve realized by now that I'm not a mathematician or an engineer. That said, I appreciate all kinds of constructive feedback

Make Longer Cables!

An MLCA Initiative

During a one-week introductory workshop to mechatronics, we created a short film that shows a custom made five-axis robotic arm called Robert.
By accident we created a slightly depressed buddy who suffers from his monotonous work. He is eager to escape his fate.

The video was shot and edited in one day. The robot is controlled by an Arduino Uno.

Internet of Things - Switchboard

Experimenting with the Internet of Things

Internet of things Switchboard clock_gif stecker_gif
The Internet of Things Switchboard was a more experimental project. We tried to imagine how it would affect us when every single device is smart and connected to the internet. In a not too distant future, every kitchen appliances could potentially recognise their surroundings. But is there a real benefit of a toaster knowing what's around it? For example, if the washing machine is from a different manufacturer than the dryer, they need a few hours longer to complete their cycles, or else they refuse to work entirely.

After a long period of research, we came to the conclusion that we can't imagine all possible connections. There are many stories about an IoT utopia/dystopia and whether or not it ends good or bad; apart from a smart bulb or 1984, there aren't any real-life use cases.

To find out what the real benefits could be, we started to track our behaviour. We created a fictional future where everything we do is tracked. To get an idea of the implications, we wanted to know everything about us that every device is going to know in the next few years.

Thanks to smartphones, the location tracking was easy. A somewhat harder task was tracking our everyday interactions, so we invented the first truly useful application for QR-Codes. Every thing we wanted to track, like light switches, kitchen appliances, toilets and so on, we tagged with QR-Codes.

With an iPhone App, we logged every single interaction by photographing the code. Additionally, we tagged the type of the device and the purpose of our interaction.

After one week, we had a semi-massive database. Of course we had to visualise it. The goal was an installation where everyone is able to experiment with different device combinations to find interesting use cases.

We combined our three datasets to simulate one day. Depending on the time of day and the connected devices, the switchboard shows all accumulating data. The system in the middle tries to find relevant connections and manages the devices.

stecker_1 arduino


The Airport Manager


My first application design project was an iPhone app that guides you through the airport.

An airport can be a confusing place, especially if you're not flying every week. My team partners and I analysed the whole process from the beginning. Starting with how to book a flight, how to get to the airport, how to find free parking slots and the right terminal, as well as things like the current security and luggage regulations.

We came up with three key features:
Managing Your Flights, Airport Navigations and Airport Services.
Managing Your Flights
Out there are dozens of flight booking apps and websites. They may be far from perfect, but the booking process is basically a solved problem. We agreed to go another way.

Airport syncs with your airline user accounts, so your flights are always in sync and you don't have to enter your personal info every time you want to check-in. You still can add a flight manually by adding the flight number.

Airport lets you know if your flight is delayed, the gate has changed, or other unforeseeable events occur.
Airport Navigation
Airport breaks down the process at the airport into smaller tasks such as Parking, Check-In, Baggage, Security and boarding. Just like with a car navigation system, you always keep track of your current position.
journey-overview navigation

Airport Services
During your stay at the airport, you can always take a look at information relevant to your current task, including luggage weight limits, security regulations and more.

Anatomy of sleep

Media Installation

Anatomy of Sleep was a second semester project. Our task was to conceptualize and design an interactive communication system for children and teenagers.

Anatomy of Sleep is an iPad app that lets users explore their sleep: You can swipe through sleep cycles and see heart rate and EEG react in real-time Dragging down the status bar reveals the second part of the app: On a human body, users select a body part and see how it is affected during sleep. Additionally, there's an explanation layer for each screen element.

Particle Mind

Workshop: Media Installation

Particle Mind is a playful visualization of brain structures. It's based on a 3D holographic display that blends in physical objects with digital content. The holo-box makes use of the Pepper's ghost illusion technique. Thanks to a mirror-technique inside the box, certain brain structures appear inside of a glass head.

In the top of the box, there's a 40 inch screen. The visuals are coming from a Processing sketch using the physics Box2D. A XBox Kinect Sensor enables gestural interaction with the installation.

Users can select which structure they want to display inside of the head by moving their arm. Options are brain, skull and throat. As a user hovers the cursor over a certain hotspots, the particles of the installation move around and together form the selected structure.


Arduino Espresso machine


As a part of my college application 2012 I modified a portafilter coffee machine. There were a few things that really bugged me out.

One of them was the constant attention the machine required during the brewing process. More then once I set the kitchen floor under hot coffee. This isn't quite a nice way to start your day.

An common way to fix personal clumsiness and a lack of attention is to add an Arduino. In addition to the logic there is now a build-in touchscreen and some sensors.

To keep it simple the new interface offers three cup sizes: small, medium and large. The interfaces says you when the machine demands fresh water.

One of the key factor of every brew process is the right boiler temperature. In the original model the temperature was controlled by a simple thermal switch. To be way more accurate, it's now controlled by a thermocouple sensor and some smart algorithms.